The last few weeks I have been a bit "blah." I've been feeling
completely overwhelmed with little projects, working on learning
how to decipher unconventional lab results for my kids (which I'll
discuss in January) and catching up on other odds and ends. I've
not been exercising like I enjoy and have been neglecting my
marriage and myself. All of these things leave me being not very
grateful for my relationships, my kids and where I am at in my
I am the type of person who sees the positive and even in my
darkest moments, I know I will survive and overcome to be a better
person. During a really crappy start of the week, a friend told me
to spend some time in the Word. I did just that one Monday morning
and felt comfort in what I was reading. It brought a
heartfelt discussion between my husband and me. Something had been
brewing between us and we just really needed to sit down and talk
A couple of days later while having tea with a friend we
discussed our "gratitude" and being grateful. What does it really
mean to live a life filled with gratitude on a daily basis? Ask the
victims in Washington. Two weeks ago they were all making their
Thanksgiving plans, but instead they have been shown that all they
had to be grateful for was taken away in a whirlwind storm. Why
does it take some awful situation to express our most grateful
She left me with this to ponder:
Gratitude ... goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims
the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always
thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of
gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived
as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort
to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of
love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.
-- Henri J. M. Nouwen
This has allowed me to reflect more on how I want to continue to
grow as a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter. Is it possible to
be that disciplined in gratefulness in the daily grind and mundane
routines? Why is it so hard to teach ourselves and our children the
discipline to live an authentic grateful life? Because many of us
don't rejoice in the things we have, we are always longing for
something bigger, better, greater and usually that is something
tangible. A random act of kindness, a child laughing, being
unemployed for several months to finally learn you got a job, that
is when we begin to find greatness in gratefulness.
Being continuously grateful for all things is a discipline that
goes beyond the month of November. Even I find myself challenged to
be more grateful and I have so much to be grateful for in my life.
My daughter's joyful heart and the way she giggles. My son's sweet,
cute voice and the way he smiles from ear to ear. My husband's
daily question to me, "What can I do for you today?" Does it get
any better than that? Sometimes I want to slap myself when I feel
It is right there in front of our faces and all we need to do is
just say, "Thanks!" In our darkest and saddest days, we can remind
ourselves that we still have much to be thankful for because it
shows in the way we live our lives. Make that "valiant effort" to
express sincere gratitude from a heart filled with joy and love,
not just this week because the holiday is reminding us, but find
something everyday to be grateful for.
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